Close Window

Afforestation with Eucalyptus species is increasing in Brazil, but there is little information on theimpacts of intensively managed short-rotation forestry on soil aggregate dynamics and labile organic matter fractions in these tropical ecosystems. This study investigated soil aggregate dynamics in a clay and sandy soil, each with a Eucalyptus plantation and an adjacent primary forest. It is shown that silviculture alters the processes of soil aggregate formation on both soil types. Micro-aggregates at 0-20 cm depth in the planted clay soil were 40% greater in mass than under native forest, and C and N were reduced by 87 and 75%, respectively. In plantations with a sandy soil, micro-aggregates had equal mass compared with native forest, but increased in C and N by 20 and 67%, respectively. The results from the sandy soil indicate that C and N increased in micro-aggregates following afforestation. Macro-organic matter fractions separated by density had lower mass, C, and N concentrations, and higher C:N ratios only in lower soil profiles, with native forest having greater values in all comparisons with light and medium fractions. The differences in micro-aggregate C and N and in the light and medium macro-organic matter fractions between the upper and lower soil profiles in both soils, indicate that silvicultural management had contrasting effects on different soil textures and at different depths. Increased micro-aggregate protection of C and N in the sandy plantation soil could negatively affect long-term nutrient cycling although the quantity and quality of light and medium macro-organic matter fractions did not change between plantation and native forest in the upper soil profile; this indicates that labile OM availability and quality had not been diminished in plantation soils at this depth.

Close Window